tv The Presidency CSPAN November 8, 2014 3:47pm-4:01pm EST
19th century movement. all your long, c-span's touring cities across the country, exploring american history. it look at our recent visit to colorado springs, colorado. watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. >> for as long as people have settled and lived in this area, pike's peak has been a marketing tool. we have used it to help identify this location. pike's peak protrudes out onto the eastern plains. it is the first 14,000 foot mountain that you reach when you are coming west across the
plains towards denver. it is a beacon in many ways for people who are traveling towards the mountains. i remember many times growing up in the midwest, coming to colorado, and knowing you're almost there when you start to see pike's peak in the distance. you can see it from 100 or more miles east of here. it is this thing that seems to pull you in as you're coming west. right now we are at crystal reservoir. we are at 9500 feet. perhaps one of the best views in the world. in 1779, when thomas jefferson and others were declaring independence on the east coast, this area was claimed by the spanish. in 1779, spanish colonial forces
came within a few miles of where we are now. they were exploiting the region and searching for hostile american indian people. in 1806, montgomery play equus sent into the west to the explore the region. pike was sent to the southwest part of the territory. from his perspective, when he came out here, you walked off the map. his mission was to be the first american official to carry word of american ownership of this region to the american indian people. to create a map of the region. to identify resources that were here in the american west.
and to determine boundaries. when jefferson bought the louisiana territory, the doctors were disputed. -- the boundaries were disputed. the spanish would not have agreed with what thomas jefferson thought he acquired. even if that dispute had not happened, it still was not quite clear where one country ended and another country began. that was defined by river drainages. no one ever knew where all the rivers were. as pike was coming across the plains along the arkansas river he entered present-day colorado , in november of 1806. shortly after, entering what we now think is colorado, he could begin to see the mountain. he called it grand peak. he identified the mountain as a location where he could get high
enough and begin to understand how the rivers flowed. plains anddown on the plane the surrounding area to help map the region. when pike first sees the grand peak, he thinks he will reach the top and a few days. it takes weeks to approach. that was probably because in the east where pike throughout, you don't have this is like you have in the american west, where the air is drier and clear. you can see for many miles. pike was confused by how far distances are here. he tried for weeks to reach the top of the mountain. they reach what we believe is a lower mountain called mount rosa. from there there was another three or four days march to get to the top of the mountain. from that point, he decided that
it was dangerous to the mission to continue moving through deep snow without proper clothing and equipment, and with limited food. they turned around. at that point, pike wrote in his journals that given the conditions, given the equipment they had at the time, no one could have submitted the peak. from that point on, he turns around and continues his quest to reach the headwaters of the arkansas. today, we think of pike as saying that no one would ever get to the top in any condition. of course we are standing on a , road where you can now drive to the top of the mountain. pike was living in different conditions and circumstances. under those conditions, he did the best he could.
pike never reached the summit. the risk outweighs the reward, given the conditions placed. he never called the mountain pike's peak. he referred to it as the grand peak. because his journals were initially published in 1910, he was the first person to describe this area in detail. his name permanently became attached to the mountain and ultimately to the region. there have been people in the region for millennia. it is unknown who first reach the top of pike's peak. we do know the first recorded summit of the peak was done in 1820 by edwin james. edwin james was a botanist for the expedition that followed in the path of pike.
because he summit did in the summer, a nice summer day, the mountain was briefly name for him. for a while it was called james' peak. pike's efforts and journals were better known and the mountain could never shake that name. james' peak was moved to another lower mountain in colorado. it remains pike's peak today. he is a little-known figure today. we are trying to change that. those historians who have studied him. he has not had the benefit of lewis and clark, a lot of scholarship. his expeditions were not directly authored by thomas
jefferson the way lewis and clark was. we think he was an important figure in the area of western expedition. he is the first to really create a visual image of the american southwest. of visual image through the words he wrote, the journals he compiled, and the fact that he published those journals into print before lewis and clark did. they were translated into many languages. people were eager to understand what the west offered. he helped us to understand geography. he did not get the map perfectly correct. his coverage was somewhat limited. he helped us to understand the connection between the settled parts of the united states and
what is now mexico. his journals encouraged what would become the santa fe trail. a trade route that links the united states of mexico. his journals created an image of the west as an arid place. it further the idea that the west was what he and others called the great american desert. that visual image is something that we still see in reality today, in terms of how try and arid this part of the country can be, and the issues that come with trying to farm in this part of the country. today, there are many ways to get the top of pike's peak. we have pike's peak highway, which we are standing near now. it is easy for people to get in
a car and drive to the top. there is a toll road. there is also the railroad, which is a a train that takes people to the top. then there is a trail that a lot -- that allows people to hike to the top. in fact, pike's peak is america's mountain. that is the way we think about it. many people may know that bikes -- pike's peak inspired the poem that became "america the beautiful" by katharine lee bates. she came here to teach a course at colorado college in 1893. during her stay, she took a wagon ride to the top of the mountain. the view down to the plains from the top of the mountain inspired
the poetry, inspired the images that are captured in the poetry of the united states. we think of pike's peak is not only symbolizing this one location, but in many ways the beauty of it and majesty symbolizes the entire country. find out where c-span's local content vehicles are going next online at www.c-span.org/ localcontent. you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every week on c-span 3. tv nextamerican history saturday for all-day coverage of a world war i centennial symposium. we will hear from scholars about the war that inaugurated the 20th century and welcome your calls, facebook posts, and tweets.
andguests include lee craig the author of the "berlin baghdad express." that is next saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern here on american history tv. history bookshelf features popular american history writers and airs on american history tv at this time. seven years ago in 1944, amidst world war i, president franklin d roosevelt campaigned for his fourth and final term as president. next, author stanley wind trout discusses roosevelt's wartime election and deteriorating health. this was recorded at the national portrait gallery in july, 2012. it is a little under an hour. >> my book is called "final victory."
that suggests that was nothing but victories in his life. in newhave two terms york state. he did become secretary of the navy in world war i. he was then chosen to be the vice president of candidate or the democratic ticket in 1920, when the democratic -- when the democrats were sure to lose, and they lost. he lost with them. he had national visibility. he was sure to go on with other things. that was 1920. in 1921, he suffered an attack of polio, lost the use of his legs. he was paralyzed from that time on. now, we are 23 years into that period